Devotional – The Burden of the Gospel – Matthew 9:35-38

There is a burden to the Gospel, or at least, there should be to us. Let’s use an analogy to better understand what I mean.

Imagine if someone is dying because they don’t have knowledge of the right medical treatment. You know what that treatment is. It’s something the person could readily obtain, if they knew what to get. Do you walk away and not provide the knowledge that person needs? Isn’t there a burden on any of us in this situation if we know the proper treatment? Refusing to share that knowledge is an act of evil.

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:35-38, ESV

If we are Christians, we have the life saving knowledge of the Gospel. To those who are perishing without the Gospel, we should feel a burden to convey what we know. As Jesus pointed out, there are plenty of people who need to hear the message. However, there is a lack of folks sharing that knowledge. What He spoke back then to His disciples is true in the present day. We are not sharing the Gospel like we should.

Note also how Jesus characterized the role: laborers. These aren’t folks with specialized training. We don’t have to attend Bible college or get a seminary degree to share the Gospel. The Gospel is simple enough for children to understand. Therefore, if we try to feign that we aren’t able to do the job, we are lying to both God and ourselves. Just as with the analogy, we just need to provide the knowledge. The act of salvation – God does that. Let’s focus on our part: the sharing.

Our efforts need to be intentionally directed. A laborer doesn’t just go into a field and hacks away however he wants. That effort is fruitless. It is more destructive than anything. The same is true with the Gospel. Just having a quote on our email; passing someone by and saying, “God bless you,” like they just sneezed; leaving a track on the table for the wait staff we barely spoke to other than to give our order: or going into some public square and shouting without context and relationship rarely results in any sort of success. God intends that we care about the people around us. Building connections, even if they aren’t long lasting, is important. For some of us, hard introverts, this is difficult. However, consider what we possess: the knowledge which can lead to eternal life.

That’s why there is a burden to the Gospel. It’s a burden we will hopefully bear joyfully and gladly. We aren’t doing the saving, but we are supposed to be doing the saying. Paul was willing to give up his own eternal salvation if it would mean his people would be saved (Romans 9). May our attitude towards others be like Paul’s!


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